Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Turkish court sentences cryptocurrency exchange founder to 11,196 years in prison

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Turkish court sentences cryptocurrency exchange founder to 11,196 years in prison

Faruk Fatih Ozer, who ran Thodex a Turkish-based crypto exchange until its collapse in 2021, was sentenced to 11,196 years in prison by a Turkish court for crimes including fraud.

Delivering its verdict on Thursday evening, the Istanbul court sentenced Ozer and his two siblings to similar prison terms, declaring them guilty of serious fraud, operating a criminal organization, and laundering money.

Ozer, a high school dropout who founded Thodex in 2017 and fled to Albania after Thodex went bankrupt, appeared unrepentant during the final hearing.

  • “I am smart enough to run any organization on Earth,” Ozer told the court, according to state news agency Anadolu. “It shows that I started working at this company when I was 22 years old. I wouldn’t act so amateurishly if it were a criminal organization.”

The total amount of losses investors suffered in Thodex’s collapse remains unclear. The prosecutor’s indictment estimated the amount at 356 million liras ($13 million), but Turkish media quoted the figure as being as high as $2 billion. A study by Chainalysis estimates the value of crypto assets lost at Thodex at $2.6 billion.

Faruk Fatih Ozer fled to Albania after Thodex went bankrupt in April 2021. The Turkish Interior Ministry said this was an exit scam. Ozer was arrested in Albania in August 2022 and extradited to Türkiye in April this year after a lengthy legal procedure.

Although the total amount of losses suffered by cryptocurrency investors is unknown, the prosecutor’s indictment puts the figure at $13 million.

The aftermath of Thodex has severely affected the crypto community in Türkiye, increasing scrutiny on crypto companies and exchanges. Turkey is facing high inflation and the devaluation of the Turkish lira, but cryptocurrencies have failed to bring respite to the community due to the collapse of Thodex.

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Olumide Adesina

Olumide Adesina

Olumide Adesina is a financial market journalist and investment trader.
Message Olumide on Twitter @tokunboadesina

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